LXXIV FOUNDING OF KAJAR DYNASTY 391 the Russian general encamped for the winter on the plain of Moghan, with the entire country to the north in his possession. Aga Mohamed was preparing to take the field in the spring, when the Empress Catherine died, the army was withdrawn, and the Russian peril disappeared. The Shah, delighted at this extraordinary piece of good fortune, resolved to invade Georgia again. He was within sixty miles of the Araxes when the inhabitants of Shisha, who had expelled their governor, begged him to take possession of the fortress. After a forced march he found the Aras in flood ; but his men crossed it, partly in boats and partly by swimming, and Shisha at last fell into his hands. The Assassination of Aga Mohamed Shah, A.H. 12 n (1797).—Three days after the capture of this stronghold, the Shah was disturbed by the noise of a quarrel between two of his personal servants, and ordered that both should be at once put to death. Sadik :Khan Shakaki interceded for them, and on the ground that it was the night of Fridayl and sacred to prayer, the execution of the sentence was deferred until the fallowing morning. With folly so extreme that it almost'-suggests mental derangement, Aga Mohamed allowed the condemned men meanwhile to perform their duties about his person. At night, with the aid of a third accomplice, they assassinated their master. Like his victim, Shah Rukh, he died in the sixty-third year of his age. His Character.—Thanks to Malcolm we have a life- like portrait of the Eunuch-Shah. At a distance his slight form resembled that of a youth, but a close in- spection revealed a beardless and shrivelled face horrible to contemplate. Yet he was a remarkable man, and his keen insight into character, his sagacity, patience, and courage secured to him the throne of Persia in spite of his physical disabilities. Malcolm states that his three ruling passions were power, avarice, and revenge, but that he was able to subordinate everything to his passion for power. This was in the first instance personal, but it also aimed at making the Kajars the royal tribe. Seeing 1 The night of Friday begins at sunset on Thursday.